How did you first learn to see? To recognize patterns in nature? To learn how to look for the uncommon among the common? To develop a search image for unusual things?
I grew up by the beach, and my family had a tradition of looking for interesting beach stones and sea glass. (Pieces of blue sea glass were rare, but especially treasured!)
Thinking back on it, I'm guessing that searching for sea glass is one of the ways that I started to develop natural history observation skills. It was good practice and translated well to explorations in other environments.
Now when I notice a piece of sea glass, I feel thankful for those early lessons and the lifelong skills that started way back when. (Scanning and scanning for that little piece of blue!)